Extension granted to NAB chairman ‘illegal’, claims Bilawal

Web DeskSenior Editor

07th Oct, 2021. 03:47 pm
Bilawal Bhutto

Bilawal Bhutto

Firing a broadside at the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari alleged that the extension, granted to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal, was “illegal” and the move showed “malicious intent”.

“Extension of NAB chairman’s term is not only illegal but has malicious intent,” said the PPP chairman in a tweet on Thursday.

Bilawal said that the “selected government” wants to continue victimising the opposition but ensure that PM Imran Khan, his family, government and cronies are “immune from accountability”. The extension being granted showed “malicious intent”, especially after the Pandora Papers, he added.

The government and the opposition have been at odds over the appointment of the next NAB chairman. However, a day earlier, President Dr Arif Alvi promulgated the amended National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) 2021 that paved the way for Justice Iqbal to continue working as NAB chairman.

The ordinance now allows Justice Iqbal to remain at his post until his successor is appointed. The appointment by the president for NAB chairman will be done after consultations between the prime minister and leader of the opposition.

“However, if there is no consensus, then the president will refer the matter to a parliamentary committee,” reads the ordinance. The committee shall consist of 12 members and will be formed by the National Assembly speaker.

Under the ordinance, the procedure for re-appointment will be the same, but the NAB chairman can be removed just like the judges of the Supreme Court.

President empowered to appoint accountability judges

The ordinance empowers the president to set up accountability courts in the country as much as he wants. He has also been empowered to appoint accountability court judges in consultation with the concerned chief justices. The judges will have a three-year term limit under the new law.

The amendment also stops NAB from intervening in federal, provincial and local taxation matters. Similarly, decisions of federal and provincial cabinets, committees and sub-committees will not fall under the jurisdiction of NAB.

The ordinance states that the decisions of the Council of Common Interests, NEC, NFC, ECNEC, CDWP, PDWP will also be outside the purview of the anti-corruption watchdog.

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